Monday, September 12, 2011

What's the value of those "where I was on 9/11" posts?

This may sound awfully curmudgeonly, but why do so many people write posts/articles about where they were on 9/11? Why is there even a site dedicated to collecting these stories? I don't want to tell people how to run their blogs/columns/skywriting service, but I am curious as to what the impulse is behind this.

Is there something therapeutic about returning to memories of that day--are the writers trying to work through their trauma (or the traumatic lack of trauma for those who have very tenuous connections to the famous sites of that day)? Are they offering their stories as part of some collective attempt to capture that day in the hope that... what? Is there some trace of self-indulgence in thinking about the unalloyed trauma --before things got really bad--as pointed out by this Onion article, "Nation Would Rather Think About 9/11 Than Anything From Subsequent 10 Years."

When my parents tell me where they were when Kennedy was shot, it helps me understand my parents more; and it gives me a view of history that I might not otherwise have. Maybe some future generations will get that same educational value out of these stories of where regular people were on 9/11; but I don't care to read them because I can't see the value.

1 comment:

  1. I think its just that. Future generations will see this as we see it when our parents tell us where they were when Kennedy was shot, or when our grandparents tell us where they were when Pearl Harbor was bombed. In today's world of information overload I guess it does seem a bit more self indulgent than anything else to us at least who lived through it.

    I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing, but what's the point? You lived through it too and probably remember, but again, what the point? However working in a place where children ask questions about the matter and knowing that they were either not yet born or too young to understand I can see the value in their own eyes... or maybe its just the collective need to feel united in something through the internet.

    I don't know.